CenturyLink - Application to Classify and Regulate Retail Local Exchange Telecommunications Services as Competitive, and to Classify and Deregulate Certain Services as Non-Essential

Status
Prior
Docket Number
T-01051B-11-0378
Assigned Staff
J. Jerich
D. Pozefsky
W. Rigsby

 

Case Information:

 

On Thursday, October 13, 2011, Qwest Corporation, doing business as CenturyLink-QC ("CenturyLink" or "Company") filed an application(link is external) with the Arizona Corporation Commission ("ACC" or "Commission"), petitioning the Commission for, one, a determination pursuant to A.C.C. R14-2-1108 that all Commission-regulated retail local exchange services CenturyLink provides are competitive telecommunications services, and, two, for a determination pursuant to A.R.S. §40-281(E) that certain of the retail services CenturyLink provides are not essential or integral to the public service and shall not be regulated by the Commission ("Application").

On Tuesday, November 22, 2011, RUCO filed an application to intervene(link is external) in the matter.

On Friday, December 2, 2011, the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") assigned to hear CenturyLink's request issued a Procedural Order(link is external) granting RUCO's request to intervene.

On Thursday, December 22, 2011, CenturyLink filed a document(link is external) informing interested parties that the Company and ACC Staff were organizing an informal meeting for the purpose of allowing CenturyLink to explain its Application, and to give interested parties an opportunity to ask questions and express concerns in an informal information exchange and to also discuss the process for CenturyLink’ s Application. 

The first of three informal meetings was held as scheduled in the Utilities Division's conference room at the ACC's Phoenix offices located at 1200 W. Washington.  In addition to representatives from CenturyLink and ACC Staff, the meeting was attended by representatives from RUCO, Cox Communications, the Arizona Consumer Council, the Arizona Investment Council ("AIC"), various competitive local exchange carriers (through their attorney), and Rolka Loube Associates.  During the meeting the representatives discussed scenarios for an expedited proceeding  and possible dates and locations for an evidentiary hearing.  At the end of the meeting it was decided that CenturyLink, ACC Staff, and RUCO would docket a proposed procedural schedule for the ALJ's consideration. 

After two subsequent informal meetings, conducted on Monday, January 9, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. and Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 9:30 a.m., the proposed procedural schedule was filed with the Commission on Wednesday, January 11, 2012.

On Tuesday, January 17, 2012 the ALJ assigned to the case issued a Procedural Order(link is external) scheduling an evidentiary hearing on the matter for 10:00 a.m. on Monday, April 30, 2012 at 400 W. Congress in Tucson. 

The deadline for filing motions to intervene in the matter  was set for Wednesday, February 29, 2012.

Written direct testimony(link is external) from CenturyLink was filed on Wednesday, January 25, 2012.

On Thursday, March 1, 2012, CenturyLink and ACC Staff filed a joint motion(link is external) asking for an extension to file written testimony in the proceeding.

On Friday, March 9, 2012, the ALJ assigned to the case issued a Procedural Order(link is external)approving CenturyLink and ACC Staff's request for an extension.

On Friday, March 16, 2012, RUCO filed its direct testimony(link is external) recommending that the ACC adopt safeguards to protect consumers prior to deregulating and classifying certain residential phone services as competitive.

On Thursday, March 29, 2012, ACC Staff filed a notice(link is external) informing interested parties that CenturyLink has indicated its desire to engage in settlement discussions on the Company's deregulation request.  On Friday, March 30, 2012, CenturyLink filed a notice(link is external) inviting all parties to attend settlement talks that were scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 5, 2012, in the Commissioners' Conference Room at the ACC's Offices located at 1200 West Washington Street in Phoenix.

Settlement discussions began as scheduled on April 5, 2012 but failed to produce an agreement with RUCO and other parties to the case.

On Monday, April 9,2012, CenturyLink filed an unopposed motion(link is external) seeking a one-week extension on the filing date for rebuttal testimony.

On Monday, April 9, 2012, the ALJ assigned to the case issued a Procedural Order(link is external)granting CenturyLink's request for a filing extension.

On Thursday, April 19, 2012, CenturyLink and the Department of Defense and all other Federal Executive Agencies ("DOD/FEA") filed a settlement agreement(link is external) with the ACC.

RUCO filed its rebuttal testimony on Monday, April 23, 2012 (all parties to the case will have the opportunity to present any surrebuttal testimony orally during the hearing on Monday April 30, 2012). 

A telephonic pre-hearing conference was conducted on Monday, April 23, 2012 in Room 218 at 400 W. Congress in Tucson, after the conference, DOD/FEA filed a motion to withdraw as intervenors to the case.

After considering  responses to DOD/FEA's request from ACC Staff and AIC, the ALJ assigned to the matter denied DOD/FEA's request to withdraw from the proceeding on Thursday April 26, 2012.

The evidentiary hearing began as scheduled on Monday, April 30, 2012, but, due to unforeseen circumstances, was recessed early on Tuesday, May 1, 2012. 

On Thursday, May 3, 2012 ACC Staff filed a request for a procedural order(link is external) asking that the ALJ vacate the current hearing dates set for May 9 and 10, 2012 and reset the hearing dates for June 5 and 6, 2012, due to scheduling conflicts with ACC Staff witness Elijah Abinah.  None of the other parties to the proceeding objected to ACC Staff's request.

On Friday, May 4, 2012, the ALJ assigned to hear the matter issued a Procedural Order(link is external)granting ACC Staff's request.

On Thursday, April 5, 2012, the parties to the case met to discuss a possible settlement agreement.

On Thursday, May 17, 2012, the attorney for ACC Staff filed a proposed settlement agreement(link is external) ("Agreement") that had been entered into by CenturyLink, ACC Staff, AIC and RUCO.

On Friday, May 18, 2012, the ALJ assigned to the matter issued a Procedural Order(link is external)Scheduling the evidentiary hearing on the Agreement for 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 5, 2012  and 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday June 6, 2012, in Room 222 at 400 W. Congress in Tucson.  The evidentiary hearing will now focus on whether or not the Agreement is in the public interest.

On Tuesday, May 22, 2012, CenturyLink filed a motion(link is external) to withdraw the settlement agreement reached with DOD/FEA pursuant to Section 2.11 of the Agreement.

CenturyLink, ACC Staff, AIC and RUCO filed their testimony in support of the Agreement on Friday, May 25, 2012.

The evidentiary hearing on the Agreement concluded on Tuesday, June 5, 2012.

After weighing all of the evidence presented during the proceeding, the ALJ assigned to the matter issued a Recommended Opinion and Order(link is external) ("ROO") on Tuesday, July 3, 2012.  The ROO adopts the proposed settlement agreement reached by CenturyLink, Arizona Corporation Commission Staff, RUCO and the Arizona Investment Council.

Exceptions to the ROO are due by 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 12, 2012.

Per a request from one of the five sitting ACC Commissioners, CenturyLink's deregulation request was pulled from the Thursday, July 19, 2012 Regular Open Meeting agenda.

The matter is currently set to be voted on during the Regular Open Meeting scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, August 14, and 15, 2012, at 1200 W. Washington in Phoenix.

The five sitting Commissioners can either accept, amend or reject the ROO.